How to stop snoring: causes, treatment and remedies

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How to stop snoring: causes, treatment and remedies

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More of us do it than we’d like to admit – and many are kept up at night by their partner’s habit. What we’re talking about is snoring. It’s said that up to half of all adult Americans snore. But what causes it to happen, and can it be cured?

By Imogen Groome | 6th August 2019
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In essence, snoring happens when air flows through your throat as you breathe during sleep. The tissues in your throat are relaxed, so they vibrate and lead to the snoring sound we all know and hate. Even if you’ve found a way to cope with your partner’s racket, or you find that your own snoring isn’t affecting your sleep too much, it’s still important to look into its cause. This is because it could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as obesity, sleep apnea, or an issue with the way your mouth, nose or throat is structured.

What causes snoring?

While there are many causes for snoring, some of them are fairly common, so we’ve outlined them below.

  • Obesity: Carrying extra weight around your neck or throat can lead to snoring. This can often be remedied by exercising and losing weight to lose the fatty tissue and poor muscle tone.
  • Age: Those who are middle aged and over will have their throat become narrower. What’s more, the muscle tone in this area will go down. It may seem like this cause doesn’t have a cure, but there are remedies such as lifestyle changes, throat exercises and bedtime routines which can all help.
  • Sinus and nasal issues: If you have blocked airways or a stuffed up nose, inhaling can become more difficult and cause a vacuum in the throat, which results in snoring.
  • Back sleeping: Those who sleep flat on their backs will have the flesh in their throat relax and block the airway. As you may guess, changing sleep position will help in this case.
  • Build and gender: Men will be more likely to snore than women due to the fact they have narrower air passages. There are also physical conditions such as enlarged adenoids, a cleft palate or being born with a narrower throat which can also contribute to a snoring issue. As with the age cause, you can help yourself by making lifestyle changes, switching up your bedtime routine and carrying out throat exercises.
  • Smoking, alcohol and medication: Those who smoke, regularly drink alcohol or take certain kinds of medication which relax the muscles will be more likely to snore.
Angry brunette wife disturbed with husband loud snoring
Snoring can be caused by sleeping on your back (Picture: iStock by Getty)
When is snoring a serious issue?

Sometimes, snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. This is a serious sleep condition whereby your breathing gets interrupted several times during the night. If you suffer from extreme tiredness and fatigue each day, you could have sleep apnea or a similar breathing problem related to your sleep. These are the symptoms which indicate you should see a doctor:

  • Interruptions in breathing during sleep
  • Gasping or choking during sleep
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times during the day
  • Snoring loudly and heavily
  • Feeling tired during the day
Linking how you snore to why you snore
  • Closed mouth snoring – Indicates there could be a problem with your tongue
  • Open-mouth snoring – A sign there could be an issue with your throat tissues
  • Back sleeper snoring – Mild snoring which can be improved with sleep and lifestyle changes
  • Snoring in all sleep positions – There may be a serious issue; contact your doctor
Tired and annoyed woman of her boyfriend snoring in the bed
There are many treatments and remedies for snoring problems (Picture: iStock by Getty)
How to stop snoring: home remedies
  • Elevate the top of your bed – This will keep your airways open and may help to reduce the amount of snoring
  • Lose weight – If you are overweight, making this lifestyle change will help to decrease the amount of throat tissue you have
  • Change your sleeping position – Sleeping on your side allows air to flow more easily than if you’re on your back. This can reduce your snoring or stop it altogether
  • Use nasal strips – You can purchase stick-on nasal strips, which are put on the bridge of the nose to increase the amount of space in your nasal passage. Breathing will become a more effective process, aiding with snoring
  • Use a nasal dilator – This is a stiff adhesive strip which is placed across the top of the nose. It works by decreasing the amount of airflow resistance and making it easier to breathe
  • Avoid alcohol at bedtime – Drinking alcohol in the hours before going to bed can relax the muscles in your throat and result in snoring
  • Invest in a high quality mattress – Sometimes upgrading what you’re sleeping on can have an impact on conditions such as snoring. There are many top brands available, such as Bear, Casper and DreamCloud
  • Don’t take sedatives before you sleep – Ask your doctor if there are other options, as stopping the use of sedatives before bed can have an impact on the severity of your snoring
How to stop snoring: Treatments and surgeries
  • Ensure chronic allergies are treated – If you’re prone to allergies, it’s worth considering that these can reduce the airflow through your nose. When you’re forced to breathe through your mouth, you’re more likely to snore. Your doctor will know about any prescription or over the counter medications which could help with your specific condition and therefore ease your snoring
  • Use a dental mouthpiece – Known as oral appliances, these help to keep your air passages open, therefore making it easier to breathe. You can get in touch with your dentist to have one made
  • Use a CPAP machine – A pressurized air mask, called a continuous positive airway pressure machine, can be worn over the nose during sleep to help keep the airways open. This is a treatment medically recommended for many who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea
  • Get the pillar procedure – If you get this treatment, you’ll have strands of polyester filament, called palatal implants, injected into the soft palate of your mouth. These work by stiffening this area to reduce snoring
  • Address structural problems in your nose – Some people will either be born with or suffer from an injury which leaves them with a deviated septum. This is also known as a misalignment of the wall which separates the two sides of the nose, resulting in a restriction of airflow. Surgery may be necessary to correct this condition
  • Get somnoplasty – This treatment, also referred to as radiofrequency tissue ablation, makes use of low-intensity radio waves to shrink your soft palate tissue
  • Get uvulopalatopharyngoplasty – Shortened to UPPP, this surgery tightens up throat tissue in an effort to reduce snoring. Another option is laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, or LAUPPP, which can be more effective than UPPP
Written by
Imogen Groome
Imogen is editor-in-chief of Hot5. She is also a lifestyle blogger, author and freelance journalist, with particular interests in music, politics, psychic readings and dating. She is usually found at home with her collection of animals, drinking iced tea. Read more.
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